Why is my faith so small?
Almost two years ago I took my first trip to the orphanage in Ukraine. The first two days we were there, this kid named Vlad concerned us a little bit. He was around 13 or 14 and he was very attention driven. He would come up and hug our neck and lick our face and occasionally bite us. No he wasn't mentally ill, just attention starved. He was also hilarious. He knew a little bit of English and would call us "American-ski." By Wednesday, however, we all fell in love with him. He was weird, quirky, scary, and we would have to remind him not to bite or lick us, but he was just Vlad! The kind of kid that would never get adopted. The kind of kid that would scare people off unintentionally because he was trying for your attention. The kind of kid you would hide from because you never knew what he was going to do even though you secretly hoped he would find you because you wanted to see what he would do. One of my favorite times that week was a 3 minute conversation I had with him. It was the only time I saw him serious. I asked him how he became an orphan. He said he didn't know his parents. Somebody found him wandering on the street when he was 18 months old. His mother/parents had put him out at 18 months old! That was all he knew. After he solemnly told me that, he tried to sit on my lap for which he was severely scolded by an adult male Ukrainian for doing so. He was just being Vlad.
Shortly after our trip, we gave each of our children in our church the name of an orphan to pray for. Nia got a girl named Viola. JJ got Vlad. The first night we prayed for them the kids prayed that they would be adopted. After we prayed, I told Nia and JJ that it was more than likely that neither would ever get adopted because of their age and also for Vlad because he was so eccentric. I suggested that we pray for them in ways that they would come to know Jesus, get in ministry with LifeSong at the orphanage, or become part of the transition program. I'll never forget how Nia cried that night at the thought that nobody would want to be a parent to these kids.
Why is my faith so small?
Daniel just got back from his Ukraine trip in February. We take turns going different times of the year (to the same orphanage). I asked him how Vlad was. He said he saw him there and talked to him. He was in a foster home. HE WAS IN A FOSTER HOME!! He comes back to the orphanage to visit. The first thing I thought of was the night in JJ's bedroom when I told Nia and JJ to pray for something else for Vlad and Viola. And then I heard
"Why is your faith so small?"
Because God is not small. Because I should have been praying with Nia and JJ for the past two years that Vlad and Viola would be adopted.
Because I should have faith that He made Vlad the way he is and that nobody is unadoptable--nobody. Because my children have a big God.
Because my children want to ask God for things I don't ever think are possible. Because my children are right.
Maybe my faith is so small because I am too large......
In Matthew 17:14-20 we have the message of the disciples unable to cast out a demon from a boy. The father brought the boy to the disciples and they couldn't do it. The father then brought the boy to Jesus and at His rebuke, the boy was healed. The disciples asked Jesus in private why couldn't they cast out the demon. Jesus replies, "because of your little faith. For truly I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." (v. 20)
I'm not going to turn this into a self-help "believe in God and you can do anything..." I don't think that is what Jesus was telling the disciples at all. Nor do I believe that the Bible teaches this. In fact I think we place ourselves in the messages of the Bible where we don't belong but only Christ does (another blog, another time). I believe that Christ is all, does all, and says all. I think God taught me all this through Vlad because He wanted to show me that so many times my faith is misplaced on myself and my thoughts of God, instead of who God really is, what God really does, and what God really says.
That makes my faith small.
I am so glad that my children have this awesome, big God! I am so thankful that God is sovereign over Vlad. Praise God that He uses His sovereignty and plans for Vlad to teach me about my smallness. My prayers are only hindered by myself. I need to ask that He increase my faith. Glory to Him for the grace He has for all of us.
Because I once too was unadoptable.
Read Matthew 17:14-20 again. Give thanks to God that He accepts us because Christ makes us acceptable.
And may you ask Him to grow your faith as big as a mustard seed.